Poetically Yours - Ep.14 - Poet Recollects The Discomfort Of Getting Her Hair Straightened
Welcome to WNIJ's Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases northern Illinois poets. This week's poem is by Paige Monét Wright, a member of FourPoets, OneMic.
Wright was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia but moved to Illinois at the age of 14. She and her older sister were raised mainly by their mother.
Wright is a sophomore at Northern Illinois University studying biological sciences. She said she wants to be a pediatrician so that she can help children stay healthy and safe.
Wright fell in love with writing in elementary school. In addition to poetry, she writes comic books and scripts with her cousin, which are later developed into stories. Wright is working towards publishing some of her original works. To help reach her goal, she joined the spoken word performance and poetry organization FourPoets, OneMic when she was a freshman.
Some of her other hobbies include cooking, listening music, reading, and spending time with close friends and family. Wright says she loves all of her hobbies and will continue to maintain a proper balance between them.
In her poem "Destruction," Wright tells the story of her father attempting to straighten her coils.
Daddy’s hand soak through my cotton
His fingers curve inward, to try to eliminate
The smell of burning hair
My scalp cries out chemicals as I hunch
over the sink
I want mama but she’s home miles away
Daddy attempts to soothe the ache by
But he just makes it worst
He doesn’t understand how to be gentle
Always tugging me back when I get too far
He doesn’t understand forcing my hair to
untangle only causes more damage
Graceless fingers snag the waves at my roots
Not knowing to start from the bottom like
My back raises, the counter imprinting my spine
My gut drops and tears fill my ducts
I keep the sorrow hidden rinsing it down
the drain away from his wild eyes
His unspoken promise to protect me,
withers once my spirals straighten
And he leaves me lingering behind lost
and broken down
He’s ignorant to his role in ruining
everything he touches
Letting my skin scald, burn marks trace over me
Scarring over into something tough
enough to resist him
- Yvonne Boose is a 2020 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.